I did Parklife on less than £5 and still had a large one

One man’s journey

budget budget parklife Heaton Park Manchester national Parklife parklife 2015

So I decided to try and do Parklife on £5. Like, who would even do that? Even if you’re broke there are things that exist today, like overdrafts and parents for solving money problems? Well I did it. I actually ended up doing it on less than £5.

Shall I just end this now?


I spend Saturday guiltily asking for sips of water from my gurning friends’ bottles of water. By Sunday, the guilt crushes me. I crack and blow half my budget on a £2.50 bottle of “ice cold” lukewarm water. My own bottle, but no cap. My friend appears like an angel and tells me she has brought bottle caps with her. Who does this? It does not matter. She is amazing. I have my own supply of unlimited free water.

I go and see Caribou. He plays “Swim”. I lift off my bottle cap. I am swimming in beautiful tap water. I’m having the best time ever.


For breakfast on Saturday, I eat lots of cereal. Lots. I even made a packed lunch for the journey. Despite the strange looks on the bus, it’s fine. Later, my friend waits in a super long queue for a £5.00 panini which she dislikes. Food is overrated, I think.

Juice and a burnt toastie for the journey

But that’s before I’ve started throwing my moves. My friend enters one of the tents with a tray of hot food. CHIPS! Chips have never been so tempting. Especially, the greasy £4.50 variety with cheese on top. My water is no longer adequate. Outside, I almost break down in front of a picture of a £6.00 hotdog. This is what aspiration must feel like: terrible. Out of pity, my friend gives me the rest of her chips. I chew madly and tell her she’s the best person ever: I feel like I belong here.

Mmm, nectar of life


Fuck loving everyone. Being loved is a hundred times better than doing the loving. I spend the weekend adored. It is like being locked in a bubble gum cloud with my Great Aunt for 48 hours: I can do no wrong. I don’t even mind giving up my central position for Jamie xx to spend half the set finding water for my mate. In his words, I’m “such an amazing friend”.

What’s the difference?

We enter the Drop The Mustard Tent and I feel momentarily out of place. The guys in front of me are functioning on ten levels above me. This is too weird, ah fuck it I think. I’m going to have to gum some. I pop two pieces of spearmint gum into my mouth. Me and the guys in front chew in happy unison.

Budget tip of the day: photograph a programme.

Getting there (and back)

At first I considered walking it. Maybe it would be like Bestival and if you swim there you get a free ticket or something. Google Maps dissuaded me of this idea:

Just a casual stroll…

Instead I take the bus to Piccadilly. I take the tram to Heaton Park. Note: It is impossible to check tram tickets when your head is trapped between three different peoples’ arms, and your hand is reaching out desperately to the nearest body for balance. There is nothing redeeming about Public Transport.

…Or I thought there wasn’t, until my friends’ journey on Saturday with a Super taxi company ended with the driver demanding extra money for a pre-paid journey, before trying to abduct them and him having to call the police. Long live the magic bus.

Buying an Afterlife ticket might have been simpler…


If you’ve only just woken up with the worst comedown ever, only to realise that you lost your iPhone 6 yesterday when you were losing your shit half way through Kaytranada, and you somehow spent over a hundred pound on… on what, what exactly? Then this is for you, because you’re a fool.

Your single memory of Parklife

You can’t even remember most of it now and by next weekend all Parklife 2015 will be is another negative three figure bite into your overdraft, and a few likes on an Instagram picture with friends you’ll probably never see again.

Meanwhile, I’m off to enjoy all the money I didn’t spend at Parklife, sunning myself abroad. Adios!

Total Spent: £2.50